Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

David Stanton


132 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Science the actions he has taken to date, as a result of the report of the planning group, a National Support Service for Special Education for Students with Disabilities; his plans in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21950/02]

Work on a ministerial order under the terms of the Education Act, 1998 to establish a national council for special education is at an advanced stage and I hope to be in a position to seek Government approval and lay a draft of the proposed order before both Houses of the Oireachtas shortly, seeking resolutions approving the draft. In tandem with its work on the order, my Department is also developing the administrative and organisational arrangements that will be necessary to facilitate the establishment of a council.

The council will have two broad functions. First, it will have the capacity to assist educational providers and providers of ancillary services in developing and co-ordinating their activities at local level to facilitate the delivery of educational services for children with special needs. This will be achieved through the deployment of a network of special needs organisers who will also act as a single point of contact for the parents/guardians of children with special needs with the clear and specific objective of making appropriate educational provision for those children.
Second, the national council will be responsible for the carrying out of research and the provision of expert advice to my Department in relation to special education issues.